It's a big week for Barcelona who face a title rival missing a former Nou Camp favourite but the big news is a La Liga salary cap that Rivaldo believes will mean Messi saying farewell...
"In my opinion, only winning a Champions League or La Liga title this season, or watching Koeman getting the team playing beautiful football can convince Messi to reconsider his options. Unfortunately I'm afraid this will be his last season with the club."
Barcelona have a tough clash against Atletico Madrid in la Liga on Saturday, and while everyone will wish him well, Luis Suárez's absence with COVID-19 is a positive for Ronald Koeman and his boys.
We all know Suárez's quality from his time at Catalonia, but given the way he was 'dismissed' from the club he would undoubtedly be motivated to punish his former club and show the Barca board that they made a mistake by letting him go.
It's a big loss for Atleti, but they are playing well and I'm sure it will be a very tough match for Barca. As I mentioned last week, they are here to battle for La Liga title this season and I don't imagine Barcelona comfortably winning at Wanda Metropolitano.
Pedri its talented, but I would play Coutinho
On to Saturday's match and it remains a doubt about who will play from the start - Pedri or Coutinho.
Of course, in terms of experience and respect from opponents Philippe Coutinho would be a bigger threat and if he is fully recovered, then I would pick him up for this match. I'm sure that Koeman will make his judgement based on who is performing best in training.
La Liga salary cuts will harm Barcelona in the market
Last week I warned about Barcelona's need to reinforce their attack after Ansu Fati's serious injury, but the situation has got more complicated after La Liga lowered a salary cap across all clubs in the division.
The board must now think very carefully before making a move in the market, carefully looking at each player's salaray demands.
This will reduce the number of players that might join the club in January, but Barcelona really needs to bring at least one attacker that could add some value. They must dig deeper to find a cheap and qualified player or someone ready to decrease his salary to join a big club like Barca.
This looks like Messi's last season at Barca
Barcelona had already negotiated some salary cuts with players and also tried to make a general cut that was declined by the squad, so, this is not new for the players. But it does reinforce the idea that reaching an agreement to renew Messi's contract is going to be tough with a reduced margin to increase his salary.
Of course, Messi will have better offers from other clubs, and was already trying to leave the club by the end of last season. I can't see how our board will convince him to take a step back on that decision.
In my opinion, only winning a Champions League or La Liga title this season, or watching Koeman getting the team playing beautiful football can convince Messi to reconsider his options. Unfortunately I'm afraid this will be his last season with the club.
Not the time to think about Neymar's return
We've been hearing some Barcelona presidency candidates say they won't attempt to sign Neymar after the way he left, and even though I consider a return to be possible, I also recognise that this might not be the time for it to happen. Additionally Barcelona will struggle with the financial resources now.
Neymar seems to be happy at Paris now and is even considering a contract extension, so I don't see his return to Barcelona happening at the moment or in the near future.
Brazil looked powerful even without Neymar and co.
Brazil confirmed my expectations and won more two matches in the World Cup South-American qualifiers, despite playing without important players like Neymar, Coutinho or Casemiro.
Honestly, I consider that Brazil is the stronger outfit between the ten nations competing for places in the World Cup and they are proving their superiority.
With the quality of squad at their disposal, Brazil are strong even without some of the star players and I believe they can end their 18-match qualifier without recodrdinfa single loss, including Argentina.
I'm an admirer of Éverton Ribeiro's qualities
Éverton Ribeiro shined against Uruguay and this is not a surprise for me as I consider him to have lots of quality and personality.
Just look at his successes at most clubs throughout his career. He is also coming from a sensational season at Flamengo which he is continuing this season.
He completely earned his right to be in the Brazilian national team and took great advantage of Neymar and Coutinho's absences to produce solid performances with the no,10 on his back. I'm sure he will be fighting for his place in the team at Copa America and World Cup in the next few years.